When and how can cover crops be terminated without jeopardizing valuable crop insurance coverage of the cash crops to be planted in the same field following the cover crop?
USDA/NRCS has released updated guidelines for terminating cover crops prior to spring planting in 2014.
(Originally Published March 22, 2013) You bought crop insurance for spring-planted crops, right? Now, make sure you follow the rules on prevented plantings and cover crops. There are some changes for the 2013 growing season, point out Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture officials.
Earliest planting dates, in Pennsylvania, for instance, are April 11 for corn and April 11 to 30 for soybeans, depending on the county. Note: Earliest dates for coverage of spring-planted crops varies by state and county.
So check with your local crop insurance agent to be certain. Acreage planted before that earliest planting date is not eligible for a replanting loss payment if replanting is necessary.
New cover crop provisions
With more farms growing cover crops, it's important to be aware of two new special provisions approved by USDA's Risk Management Agency:
•Coarse grain crops like corn, grain sorghum and soybeans that are planted into established small grain, grass or legume cover crops are insurable if the cover crop is destroyed before the grain crop emerges.
•Acreage with a cover crop used for haying or grazing is eligible for prevented-planting payments as long as the use of the cover crop did not prevent the acreage from being planted.
Thinking About A Cover Crop? Start With Developing A Plan
Taking time to design your cover crop plan will increase the successful establishment of the crop and potentially allow for improved staggering of fall harvest.
How prevented planting payments are calculated
Here's an excerpt from an article in March's American Agriculturist, by Fay Benson, a Cornell Extension small dairy support person.
When excessive rain prevents field work, a farmer with any level of crop insurance except catastrophic coverage can use that final date to terminate corn and soybean planting. Be sure to notify the crop insurance agent in writing within 72 hours of the final planting date for the affected crop.
If you participate in Farm Service Agency programs, you must report your prevented planting acreage within 15 calendar days after the final planting date. That's to receive the prevented planting acreage credit.
Related: Find Your Local FSA By State
Your cause for the delay of planting must be across the area where your farm is located and documented by a reputable weather service. Make that decision well before that final date, and contact your insurance agent to be sure there are no misunderstandings.
Prevented planting is included in all policies at 60% of the insured guarantee. You'll receive 60% of the guarantee for those eligible acres not planted. Here's how it's figured:
Assume your farm's 120-bushel-per-acre corn yield and you chose a 65% coverage option. The 65% or 78 bushels times the projected $5.68 per bushel equals a $443.04 insured guarantee.
If you claim prevented planting, multiply 60% times the $443.04 for your preventing planting payment of $265.83 per acre.
Acres claimed for prevented planting payment can't be planted to a crop for harvest during the current crop year. You can, however, plant a cover crop or a fall-planted crop to be harvested next year.